The Fall of the American Empire

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Canada (Québec) | 2018 | 129 minutes | Denys Arcand

In the third part of Denys Arcand’s informal trilogy, following Decline of the American Empire and The Barbarian Invasions , this biting satire on capitalism follows an idealistic delivery-truck driver who stumbles upon two bags of cash after a botched armed robbery.

"Denys Arcand's spiritual sequel to 'The Barbarian Invasions,' is a breezy heist comedy about the immorality of money."—IndieWire

Quebecois filmmaker Denys Arcand completes his informal trilogy with this thematic follow-up to The Decline of the American Empire (1986) and Oscar®-winner The Barbarian Invasions (2003), and it's nothing less than a scathing indictment of capitalism and the damning influence of money. Though delivery-truck driver Pierre-Paul (Alexandre Landry) doesn't have the greatest life, he does what he can to support Montreal's homeless population through regular handouts and working volunteer shifts at the local shelter. But while out on a delivery, he witnesses a botched robbery that leaves two dead, one injured criminal on the run, and two bags of cash for the taking. Realizing that there are no witnesses, he quickly stows the loot in public storage and contacts Sylvain "The Brain" (Arcand regular Remy Girard), a lawyer fresh out of prison for financial crimes, so they can figure out how to turn the dirty money into charitable donations. With two cops and an angry Mafia outfit hot on their tail, Pierre-Paul, Sylvain, and an open-hearted sex worker named Camille (Maripier Morin) must stay 10 steps ahead of everybody if they hope to change the world for the better. Witty, idealistic, and uncomfortably relevant, The Fall of the American Empire is a satire that cuts like a knife.

Marcus Gorman

Director Biography
French-Canadian filmmaker Denys Arcand was born in Deschambault, Quebec, under the roof of a strict Catholic mother who enrolled him in Jesuit School for nine years. He studied history at the University of Montreal, during which he produced his first film, a short called Seul ou avec d'autres. Following graduation he worked for the National Film Board of Canada, creating documentaries including the controversial Cotton Mill, Treadmill in 1970, an expose of the textile industry that was banned by the NFB. He eventually moved into features, gaining international attention in 1986 for The Decline of the American Empire, nominated for an Oscar® for best foreign-language film.

Sponsored by Canadian Studies Center at UW, Consulate General of Canada, Pacific Place, Quebec Government Office in Los Angeles

  • Original Language Title: La chute de l'Empire American
  • Director: Denys Arcand
  • Principal Cast: Alexandre Landry, Maxim Roy, Maripier Morin, Remy Girard, Louis Morissette
  • Country: Canada (Québec)
  • Year: 2018
  • Running Time: 129 minutes
  • Producer: Denise Robert
  • Screenplay: Denys Arcand
  • Cinematographers: Van Royko
  • Editors: Arthur Tarnowski
  • Music: Mathieu Lussier, Louis Dufort
  • Website: Official Film Website
  • Awards: Valladolid Film Festival 2018 (FIPRESCI Prize)
  • Filmography: An Eye For Beauty (2014); Days of Darkness (2007); The Barbarian Invasions (2003); Stardom (2000); Love and Human Remains (1999); Jesus of Montreal (1989); The Decline of the American Empire (1986)
  • Language: French
  • Has Subtitles: Yes
  • Format: DCP
  • US Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics
  • International Sales: Seville International